Tuesday, 24 February 2015

The silent sounds of London

Each time I'm leaving for a small journey around Europe, I normally take into account some things that have by now become accepted truths: the first one is that I will always leave home as somebody who's running away from it. I'll normally postpone getting the luggage ready till the last possible millisecond and leave home at the last minute, giving me an overall aura of a pinkish hair runaway madwoman.
The second truth is that in the moment I land I'll be temporarily deaf. My ears pressure has always behaved like an anarchist and after a bad infection some years ago (note to readers: if your ear ever starts bleeding after a flight, don't believe the A&E doctor telling you to take an aspirin and go to sleep, ok? You'd have to be highly dysfunctional, stupid or both to believe him) alongside the pain my hearing capabilities drops badly.
The feeling is the one you get when your ears are full of water but there is no sound whatsoever. I see people opening and closing their mouths but I hear nothing. Hearing eventually comes back, slowly and gradually and the day after I'm as good as new.

To say I freaked out the first time it happened is an understatement, but now I got used to it and I somehow appreciate it. First of all it's a good excuse to play dumb if situation arises. And, it allows me a whole different look on what's around me and strips me of some of my habits, like having the iPod constantly on. I've grown up listening to music in every song moment of my life: I listen to music first thing in the morning, sing along some of my favourites at work and one of my he last thing before turning the lights off at night is to close the turntable. By if I can't hear it makes no sense to try and listen to music at inhuman high volume. So no music for me today, in my ears at least. Because walking in central London, I could see all the sounds and noises of the city: the different accents English is spoken here, the screeching of the tube vagons on the tracks, the service announcements over intercom, the gulls calling each other and the Thames water that hits the pillar of the bridges, the Caribbean duo playing near Waterloo and the busker at Green Park.

I walked around while my brain was singing to the Clash, switching to Billy Bragg around Charing Cross, the music plays in shuffle mode, from the Pogues to Nick Lowe, from R.E.M. to Césaria Evora, till the sun set down and Ella accompanied me home. Well, to the bed and breakfast...

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